In the can

filmcansWhile watching the new Tom Cruise movie last week, I found myself feeling anxious about some situation his character was in. A little worried about how it was going to come out. It was clearly a moment of suspended disbelief. And then, sitting in that dark, nearly-empty theater, I had a moment of insight. The movie I was watching was already “in the can.” The story I was watching had ended, long ago.

Things might work out for Tom’s character (they usually do), or they might not. But that had already been decided. Nothing happening in my head, in that theater, would change how the movie ended. As that dawned on me, I had a very strong feeling the same is true for my story as well. I’m saying the lines and doing the stunts but the story was written long ago and the movie is in the can. I can’t change the story or how it ends. Like Mr. Cruise, I can say my lines a little differently in each take, but the plot is done.

I know this is a very distrubing notion for many people. A ridiculous idea for some. But the more I think about it, the more convinced I become. No, “convinced” is not right. It’s more of a feeling. A recogntion. ‘Ah, yes. This is how it is.’

I choose not to try to ‘understand’ this.